In the world of natural medicine, melatonin is commonly used to help support the natural sleep cycle.* However, researchers have revealed that it plays a critical role in immune function as well.*
Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland with the primary purpose of controlling the body’s sleep cycle. Researchers first identified and isolated it in 1958. Three years later, in 1961, a British hematologist discovered liposomes. Liposomes are synthesized, spherical vessels created from cholesterol and phospholipids, which are an essential part of every cell in the body. Practitioners use them as a standard carrier system to deliver active compounds, such as melatonin, into the body.
The bilipid layers of liposomes are highly compatible with the body and can deliver fat-soluble and water-soluble compounds while protecting the contained nutrients from digestive acids. As a result, liposomes enhance the bioavailability of the compounds and ensure that a higher percentage of the nutrients are delivered to their target destination. Liposomes also have lower toxicity than the fillers used to make pills or non-organic capsules.
A Brief History of Melatonin and Its Impact on Immune Function
Researchers first suspected that melatonin might play a significant role in immune function after observing shift workers with continually changing sleep schedules. The workers not only experienced erratic levels of melatonin production but also presented poor health outcomes.* Observing these workers inspired researchers to more closely examine how sleep hormones interact with immune response and impact inflammation in the body.
How Does Liposomal Melatonin Impact the Immune System?
Consistent, high-quality sleep is fundamental to overall health. Without it, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation that is correlated with the stress response doesn’t get a chance to turn off. Our immune system suffers as a result. Melatonin dietarysupplementation can reset the circadian clock and increase the quality and regularity of sleep.* Healthy levels of melatonin can also significantly support the immune system.*
When medical providers and researchers examine immune function, they consider many markers, one of which is Natural Killer (NK) cells. NK cells are a type of white blood cell that plays a critical role in the immune response by eliminating cells associated with infection. Researchers have linked melatonin with NK cells, specifically the interleukins IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, and IL-12. Melatonin is also linked to CD3 and CD4 protein complexes, which are T cell co-receptors. Melatonin also helps to activate Th1 lymphocytes by modulating IL-12.*
These qualities of melatonin highlight its role as a cytokine regulating hormone and serve as evidence of its significant impact on immunity, inflammation, and even hematopoiesis (blood cell production).*
Why Liposomal Should Be Preferred for A Hormone Like Melatonin
Liposomal technology has significantly progressed since its development in the early 60s. Liposomes now come in a variety of forms, including stealth liposomes, target liposomes, and stimuli-sensitive liposomes, all of which are designed to successfully deliver compounds into the body.
Dosage consistency is critical when doctors and healthcare practitioners prescribe compounds for their patients. Yet, there are many factors that can affect how much of the nutrient is absorbed, including differences in patient physiology, varying levels of gastric acid, and gut permeability. Modern liposomal encapsulation helps keep absorption levels more consistent because the lipid layers protect the compound from premature degradation.
When melatonin protected by a liposomal capsule reaches its intended destination, it can be processed through diffusion instead of cell fusion. Cell fusion occurs when cells combine to create a larger cell. In diffusion, the compound slides into the membrane of the cell naturally. Diffusion is more akin to how human cells naturally interact, which reduces the loss of nutrients during the transfer. Ultimately, liposomal delivery allows for more rapid activation of the transported melatonin.
Using liposomal melatonin may improve sleep quality and support the immune system.* Although melatonin is exceptionally well-tolerated, even by children, it is a hormone and must be treated as such. So be sure to consult with your preferred health care professional before adjusting your dosage.